Master Promissory Note | Federal Student Aid

To take out a loan from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Your MPN explains the terms of your loan, so you should keep it for your records.

Master Promissory Note

There are two types of MPNs in the Direct Loan Program: one for Direct Subsidized and/or Direct Unsubsidized Loans (for students) and one for Direct PLUS Loans (for parents or for graduate or professional students). 

What is a Master Promissory Note?
When do I sign my MPN?
How do I sign my MPN?


What is a Master Promissory Note?

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s); for instance, it will include information on how interest is calculated and what deferment and cancellation provisions are available to you. 

Unless your school does not allow more than one loan to be made under the same MPN or you obtain an endorser when borrowing a Direct PLUS Loan, you can take out additional Direct Loans on a single MPN for up to 10 years.

It’s important to understand what you’re signing. For instance, the MPN states the following:

  • You must repay your loan even if you don’t complete your education.
  • You must repay your loan even if you can’t get a job after you leave school.
  • You must repay your loan even if you didn’t like the education you received.

Before—or at the time of—the first disbursement (payment to you or on your behalf) of your loan(s), you'll receive a disclosure statement that gives you information about any loan that the school plans to disburse under your MPN, including the loan amount, fees, and the expected disbursement dates and amounts.

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When do I sign my MPN?

You must sign your MPN before you receive your loan funds.

If you are a student taking out a Direct Subsidized Loan or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you must sign an MPN under any of the following circumstances:

  • You have never signed a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan MPN.
  • Your school requires you to sign a new MPN each academic year.
  • You signed an MPN more than one year ago, but no loan was disbursed.
  • You signed an MPN more than 10 years ago.

If you are a graduate or professional student or the parent of a dependent undergraduate student and are taking out a Direct PLUS Loan, you must sign a Direct PLUS Loan MPN under any of the following circumstances:

  • You have never signed a Direct PLUS Loan MPN.
  • The school requires you to sign a new MPN each academic year. (Most schools don’t require a new MPN each academic year.)
  • You signed an MPN more than one year ago, but no loan was disbursed.
  • You signed an MPN more than 10 years ago.
  • You obtained an endorser due to an adverse credit history.

 

Parent borrowers must complete and sign a separate MPN for each student for whom they are borrowing.

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How do I sign an MPN?

The financial aid office at your college or career school will guide you through the process, most likely by directing you to www.studentloans.gov to sign the online MPN.

To complete an MPN online, you will need your Federal Student Aid PIN. If you are a parent completing a Direct PLUS Loan MPN online, you must use your own PIN and not your child's PIN. 

The entire MPN process must be completed in a single session, so be sure you have enough time before you start. Each MPN takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The MPN process consists of four steps:

  1. Enter your personal and school information.
  2. Enter information about your references (people who have known you for at least three years).
  3. Read the terms and conditions.
  4. Review, electronically sign, and submit the MPN.

Curious to learn more about the MPN before you sign yours? Read our MPN Frequently Asked Questions.

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